Employment is a basic need and a basic right of every citizen, and this also applies to differently-abled people who are often discriminated not just in society, but also in the labor market.
People are quick to pity, but they fail to recognize the capabilities of people who struggle with a physical disability. At the same time, conventional skill-training provided by NGOs and INGOs are not fluid enough to allow participants to practice and adapt to the labor market.
In this grim situation, Inclusion for people with disability is a ground-breaking, simple and workable social business idea to empower and uplift socio-economic well-being of people who are differently-abled.
In conversation with Mr. Bijay Tamang, an advocate for people with disabilities and who is pursuing his journey of social entrepreneurship.
1. What is the social problem you are trying to solve?
Our society has a prejudice against people with disability. At work, people judge them based on the disability rather than the quality of their work. I believe our people need change of an attitude.
Likewise, the trainings provided to differently-abled people have communication-gaps. For example: if computer training is provided to hearing-impaired person, there must be a sign language interpreter to mediate the training, and to ensure that the objective is achieved effectively. Similarly, computer training to visually-challenged person should be aided by a hearing system.
Hence, I want to create a system which promotes disability friendly skill trainings. So that, even visually and hearing- impaired manpower are eligible to work in any office, or establish their own business.
2. Could you Elaborate briefly about your idea?
I want to provide disability friendly, skill-based training, so that people who are differently abled can lead an independent life. Disability is diverse; what a visually challenged man or a woman can do, a hearing-impaired person might not be able to perform as their capabilities differ.
The training that we will provide will allow differently abled people to develop skills and capitalize on them. We will provide them with marketable skills like designing, baking, computing, or photography through training that is disability-friendly.
Furthermore, to achieve our goal we will use the expertise of organizations like Sindhuli Association of Deaf, Handicapped Welfare Organization, Deaf school and Nepal Red Cross society to provide trainings on sign language and other trainings, that differently-abled people would be able to apply at work, to assist and to better communicate.
3. How did you come up with this idea? What is the status of your company?
The unemployment rate of the disabled people is increasing day by day. Firstly, because there are few disabled people who have studied and have established careers. Secondly, because there are few if any organizations that provide skill-based training to people with disability, so that they get the opportunity for employment.
I have been working in the advocacy and education of differently-abled people for fifteen years, and I have witnessed that although there are organizations working for people with disability and providing skill development training, those training and opportunities are not disability friendly. Due to which, they cannot utilize their skills or perform different economic activities.
I have the vision to develop leading skills and inclusive skills in people who are differently abled so that they can be independent entrepreneurs, set up business groups and set an example to others.
The company has not been registered yet. However, we coordinate with three hearing-impaired women to run a tailoring shop and that they manage themselves.
4. What challenges do you foresee in the future during your implementation of the idea? How do you plan to overcome them?
The major challenge will be in running advocacy for my vision. I will also have to the council and convince our targeted customers, and their families.
We will also need to lobby the government bodies and persuade other stakeholders like the hotel association, chamber of commerce, federation of journalist and education department.
5. How are planning to raise funds to carry out your activities? Who is your target customer?
We will take the support of the local Government to fund and run skill-based training. Our target customers will mainly include the visually-challenged and hearing-impaired audience. Our other customers will include government and other local organizations working for the benefit of people with disability.
6. How will you measure the impact of the service you provide?
Generally, when people see a blind woman, they sympathize with her instead of recognizing her capabilities to do a lot of things. If our society’s perspective towards differently-abled people changes, then I will know that the idea has given a positive impact.
Furthermore, another measure would be to see fall in an unemployment rate of people with disability.
6. Do you consider yourself as a social entrepreneur?
Currently, I am an activist for disabled people. There is a lot to do before I can be tagged as a social entrepreneur, but I would like to believe I am headed in that direction.
For more information about Inclusion for people with disability, contact Bijay Tamang at email@example.com.
Interviewed by Sadikshya Shrestha
Edited by Shambhavi Singh